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Willa Cather Foundation - Red Cloud Nebraska (NE)

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The Fine Things of Youth Chicago Premiere Performances

The Fine Things of Youth Chicago Premiere Performances

The Fine Things of Youth tells the haunting story of a brief, misbegotten affair between an impressionable young music student, Lucy Gayheart, and a charismatic singer, Clement Sebastian. Lucy leaves small-town Nebraska to pursue musical studies in Chicago and as fate would have it, becomes rehearsal accompanist to Sebastian. An adaptation of Willa Cather’s Lucy Gayheart, this piece draws squarely on the classical song repertory woven throughout the novel set in early 20th-centurny Chicago. The songs provide an achingly beautiful backdrop for a story that opens in lightness and darkens with struggle and loss. Altogether, the story offers an eloquent mediation of what it means to be alive, and to endure.

Conceived and directed by Thomas Gallagher, the piece was first featured at the annual Cather International Seminar held at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln in 2015. A year later, it was mounted at Gallery 1516, a downtown Omaha art gallery and performance space. In January of 2018, “Lucy” will make her maiden voyage to Chicago.

Performance Dates:

Sunday, January 7, 2018 2:00 pm

St. Charles Public Library

Carnegie Room, St. Charles, IL

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Saturday, January 13, 2018 7:00 pm

Elgin Art Showcase

Eighth Floor of the Professional Building

Elgin, IL

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Sunday, January 14, 2018 3:00 pm

Norris Cultural Arts Center

St. Charles, IL

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Thursday, January 18, 2018 7:00 pm

Northwestern University, McClintock Hall

Ryan Center for the Arts, Evanston, IL

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Saturday, January 20, 2018 5:00 pm

Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago

Winter Lieder Lounge Series

Roosevelt University, Ganz Hall, Chicago, IL

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Jill Anderson, actress

Jill Anderson

Omaha-native, actress Jill Anderson has enjoyed an extensive career in theater and music throughout the United States and has lived and worked in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City. Ms. Anderson’s performance work has included appearances with the New York Festival of Song, Orlando Philharmonic, Barter Theatre of Virginia, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Willa Cather Foundation and Oregon Cabaret Theatre.  Most notable roles include Viola in Twelfth Night, Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Jenny Diver in Threepenny Opera and Charlotte Bronte in Bronte. In her hometown of Omaha, Anderson has performed with the Blue Barn Theatre, The Nebraska Shakespeare Festival, The Rose Children’s Theatre and The Omaha Playhouse and Opera Omaha.  In addition to acting, Anderson has also performed on numerous occasions with Opera Omaha pops concluding including Kurt Weill Celebration 2000; All American!, Man of La Mancha and several education outreach programs.

Ms. Anderson is known and respected as an actor, singer, director, composer and arts educator. Artistic Director of the Joslyn Castle Literary Festival for five years, she has produced several multi-faceted theater and arts programs based upon famous literary figures such as Oscar Wilde, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Bram Stoker and Charlotte Bronte. A passionate advocate of arts education, Jill has worked extensively as a dialect and acting coach. She has hosted several arts workshops with students of all ages and levels of learning, including theater and its unique ability to help those with special needs.

Alongside the work she has done for the Willa Cather Foundation, Jill has been praised for her concert and cabaret work. Having toured the Midwest as a Celtic musician, she also boasts four CDs of Irish folk music. An ongoing project has been co-directing and editing a WWII documentary film entitled 48 STARS. Jill is thrilled to have made the acquaintance of Willa Cather’s indelible Lucy Gayheart.

Evan Bravos, baritone

Evan Bravos

Praised by the Chicago Tribune for his “strong singing and acting” and marked as “a young talent to watch”, native Chicagoan baritone Evan Bravos is quickly emerging as a sought-after artist on both the operatic and concert stage. Bravos’ 2017-2018 season features him in productions with Opera on the James and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Opera Santa Barbara.

Most recently, Mr. Bravos performed Masetto in Don Giovanni at Opera on the James. This spring, he will return to Opera Theatre of Saint Louis to create the roles of Pvt. Johnson and Sgt. Brown in the world premier of Huang Rao’s An American Soldier and will perform the role of Bagtry in Marc Blitzstein’s Regina under the baton of Maestro Stephen Lord. Last season, Bravos appeared in Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath and covered the role of Tom Joad, a role he had performed in the opera’s Chicago premier. With Opera Santa Barbara, he performed Harahsta in Janáčeks The Cunning Little Vixen and Morales/Dancaïro in Carmen. He also made his debut in the title role of Don Giovanni at the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival. Other highlights include Count Almaviva Le Nozze di Figaro at Central City Opera, Figaro Il barbiere di Siviglia with Lyric Opera of Chicago's Outreach, and Martin in Bernstein’s Candide at the Aspen Music Festival.

Mr. Bravos has appeared as a soloist with the Madison, Lake Geneva, Janesville, Elgin and Elmhurst Symphonies. Concert works include Macmillan St. John Passion, Orff Carmina Burana, Brahms Requiem, and Vaughan Williams Five Mystical Songs. Last season he joined the Colorado Symphony Chorus as soloist on Faure Requiem in Paris, Strasbourg and Munich. An avid recitalist, Mr. Bravos was recently featured on two music festivals in Greece.

Awards include the 2017 Pasadena Opera Guild, the 2014 Apprentice Artist Award at Central City Opera, and an Encouragement Award in the 2014 Metropolitan National Council Auditions. Mr. Bravos trained at Lawrence University Conservatory and Northwestern University Bienen School of Music. He lives now in Chicago.  Learn more about this artist online at:

Shannon McGinnis, pianist

Shannon McGinnis

Shannon McGinnis has been recognized for her skilled performances and solid support in partnerships with some of the brightest stars in the classical vocal music world. 2017-2018 brings performances at the Laguna Beach Music Festival, as well as appearances with soprano Sarah Shafer, bass-baritone Douglas Williams, bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen, and soprano Melody Moore.

A passionate advocate for art song and the education of young singers, McGinnis is a founder of Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago, where she serves as Director of Education. She has served as Lecturer in Vocal Coaching at the Chicago College of Performing Arts (Roosevelt University) since 2015.

Prior to moving to Chicago in 2006, McGinnis held the position of Assistant Professor of Piano and Coordinator of Accompanying at Truman State University. She was awarded the Doctor of Musical Arts in Accompanying and Chamber Music from the University of Michigan, as a student of Martin Katz; she was recently named a recipient of the Emerging Artist Award, which recognizes recent alumni of University of Michigan School of Music, Theater, and Dance, who have made significant contributions to their artistic field.